Sinn Féin criticised over INLA tribute
Sinn Féin criticised over INLA tribute

Organisers of a commemoration to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of hunger striker Michael Devine have defended the firing of a gun at the event.

A volley of shots was fired by a member of the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) at the commemoration in the Brandywell area of Derry on Sunday.

Three of the ten who died in the 1981 hunger strike, including Devine, were members of the the small armed republican group, which declared a ceasefire in 1998.

Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of republicans had marched from the Creggan area of the city, to honour the last hunger striker to die.

A mural and plaque were unveiled yesterday in Mr Devine’s memory.

A spokesman for the INLA-allied Irish Republican Socialist Party said that the volley of shots should not be viewed as an INLA act aimed at stirring tensions.

“It was a tribute to Michael Devine, nothing more and nothing less. Nothing should be read into it other than that, the family, the INLA and the IRSP where happy with it as such.”

But the tribute to Mr Devine was criticised by unionists, who said senior members of Sinn Féin had attended the event.

“Sinn Féin made their opposition to paramilitarism quite clear on Friday,” said the DUP’s Willian Hay, referring to Sinn Féin’s support for a motion at the Preparation of Government Committee calling for the standing down of all paramilitary groups in the North.

“Three senior members of Sinn Féin were at this commemoration. They need to be very clear what their position is.”

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© 2006 Irish Republican News